Stress and Hair Loss

Receive Hair Loss Help & Information on Hair Loss Causes

Interview with a Hair Loss Specialist
1.      What is a Hair loss Specialist?

A hair loss specialist is a highly trained consultant who has worked in the hair loss industry for many years and is primarily concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of hair loss problems – all the different types of hair loss, hair thinning, and problems that occur, and the non-medical treatment of those problems.

2.      What problems does a Hair Loss Specialist deal with?

A qualified Hair Loss Specialist provides hair loss help for a wide range of problems, including but not limited to:

  • Excessive loss of hair, thinning hair, patches of baldness, or hair breakage.
  • Scaling problems - either in patches or over the entire scalp.
  • Excessive oiliness/ dryness
  • Itching of the scalp and painful hair

Hair Loss Specialists can also give advice for other hair and scalp issues such as encroaching baldness, scalp irritation, or brittle hair. They may conduct hair analysis to learn more about the individual, and some hair loss specialists can assist with wig fittings and offer advice on cosmetic options ranging from hair plugs, hair weaving, to hair colourings.

3.     When should I see a Hair Loss Specialist ?

You should consult a hair loss specialist if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  •      A bald patch that has suddenly appeared
  •      Excess oiliness or dryness of the scalp
  •      Extreme or persistent itching
  •      Scaliness on the scalp
  •      Hair thinning / hair loss over time
  •      Scalp becoming visible
  •      Excessive hair shedding or falling out
  •      Severe hair breakage after receiving a chemical service
  •      Hair not growing / poor quality hair

A fully qualified hair loss specialist will carefully examine your hair and scalp thoroughly to assess the problem and its underlying cause. A microscopic examination might be required to aid in the diagnostic process. The hair loss specialist will then recommend to you what kind of treatment would be most suitable and necessary, and may refer you to a medical doctor if needed.

4.     Can my lifestyle affect hair loss?

Lifestyle has a huge impact on the level of healthiness of your hair. From the food we eat, our quality of sleep, amount of exercise, hairstyling techniques, leisure activities to social and psychological activities all play a part. On numerous occasions the underlying cause of hair loss or hair thinning can be traced back to a situational factor in your lifestyle.

5.     Can my diet cause hair loss?

An improper eating diet is also a key factor that affects hair growth and shows not only through your scalp but in your entire well-being. A healthy diet with the right mix of protein, iron, and other nutrients can help improve the health, look, and feel of your hair. Your hair needs the same well-rounded diet that provides all the recommended vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed for good health in the rest of your body. Many vegetarians suffer hair loss, hair thinning, or scalp problems due to a lack of complete proteins in their diet. A healthy lifestyle is the key to keep you fit overall. So, please get ample amount of sleep as insufficient sleep may aggravate the problem. Also, say no to smoking and excess alcohol as they aggravate the problem of hair loss.

6.     Does washing my hair too frequently affect hair loss?

Generally speaking, excessive hair washing is most likely not the cause for your hair loss. Your hair care products and styling techniques may weaken and cause dryness and breakage and even stunt your hair growth, but washing cannot cause an unusual amount of hair loss.

7.     What is the difference between male and female hair loss?

For men, the primary cause for hair loss is often genetics. Ninety nine percent of all instances of noticeable hair loss in men are called androgenetic alopecia. This inherited predisposition makes some follicles susceptible to a hormone, DHT, resulting in male pattern baldness

While genetic hair loss certainly plays a large part in female hair loss, many other factors are also responsible for hair loss in women. This includes poor nutrition, physical and emotional stress, undiagnosed medical conditions, thyroid abnormalities, medications and hormonal causes (pregnancy, birth control pills, menopause, etc.).

8.     Are there different types of hair loss?

There are many different types of hair loss. The most distressing type is permanent hair loss. In addition there is hair loss that is temporary, hair loss in patches, or hair that is shed from all over the scalp.

9.     What is alopecia areata?

This is a patchy type of hair loss often appearing as distinct circles of hair loss; but in severe cases it can progress to complete baldness. The condition is thought to be a systemic autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own anagen hair follicles, and suppresses or stops hair growth. Many women have complete, spontaneous recovery without a need for hair treatment; however having hair loss treatment can hasten the recovery time.

10.     Is hair loss a common problem?

Hair loss is a very common problem faced by most people at some time in their life. About half of people have experienced some sorts of hair loss by around age 50. Many factors, such as diseases and medicines, can cause you to lose more hair than normal. Although hair loss is fairly common, it can be a tough thing to live with; especially when it changes how you look it can severely reduce your self-esteem. There are many hair loss reasons and there are many treatments available for hair loss and hair thinning – you just need to find out the exact cause of your hair loss and a suitable type of treatment for it.

11.     In what ways can hair loss affect people’s life?

Hair loss can have a devastating influence on a person's quality of life, especially in women, not least because hair loss is often wrongly considered a less significant psychological and emotional problem for women than it is for men. Too often, hair loss in women is not taken seriously by family and friends or even by a woman's personal doctor. People experiencing hair loss can be affected in the following ways:

  • Loss of self-esteem - Hair is a person’s ‘crown of glory’ and to lose it is a direct attack on their sense of feminism/masculinity and beauty.
  • Anxiety and Depression- constantly worrying about hair and can lead to psychological and emotional effects and can even affect their sex life.
  • Social dysfunction - Many people stop going to social events and it can even lead to situations where they won’t leave the home.
  • Loss of control - being so concerned with hair loss that it occupies the person’s thoughts all day and leads to obsessions such as collecting hair that is shed every day.
  • Lack of support – not taken seriously by friends and family.
12.     Can genetics be a possible cause for hair loss?

99% of men who lose their hair lose it from genetic causes. That means they've inherited the genes that causes the follicles to ‘miniaturize’ under the influence of DHT from somebody in the family.

About 65 % of women in their lifetime will end up having some form of hair loss, and it's mostly genetic in that 45%. The rest are related to a variety of medical and non medical conditions

13.     Can young adults experience hair loss too?

Many people relate hair loss to old age, and there is a certain truth in this: as we age, many of us naturally lose some or all of our hair in the process. But hair loss is not just something that only the middle-aged or the elderly experience. It can also affect teens and young adults. There are a number of hair loss conditions which can affect even the very young to varying degrees.

Male Pattern Baldness is one such condition, and a surprisingly high number of young men who feel that they are too young to lose their hair. It is estimated that half of all men will suffer from male pattern hair loss to some degree by their 50th birthday, but for approximately 25% of men with the condition, they will start losing their hair when they are in their late teens or early twenties.

Nutritional hair loss is more common in young people who don’t eat properly, who participate in drug use and use nicotine. Alopecia areata is common in young people, as well as hair loss from ring worm and tricotillamania due to hair pulling from anxiety.

14.     Why does hair loss increase with age?

Unlike your waist line, age thins your hair. Protein molecules form the foundation of human hair, and about 20 amino acids determine the specific properties of protein molecules. Almost all the amino acids we need come from our diet. As we age, our digestive system becomes less efficient at absorbing the proteins we need. This result in the reduction of the diameter of a hair strand, i.e., our hair thins and appears less full. As the hair thins, it holds less pigment, so it also becomes lighter in colour. Greying also happens at the same time, but for different reasons.

Hair follicles are where our hair is formed, and healthy hair follicles depend, in large part, on critical nutrients obtained from our diet. However, as we age, our ability to absorb these critical nutrients decreases.

15.     For what reasons would someone experience sudden excessive hair loss?

The causes of sudden hair loss are personal and depend on a complicated set of factors, though they can generally be divided into psychological and physical.

Psychological Causes of Sudden Hair Loss

Anxiety, emotional stress, overdoing things and fatigue can cause sudden hair loss. If these factors are not controlled, they could make a person emotionally unstable and cause imbalances in the body, resulting in sudden hair loss. Usually stress hair loss is temporary and the condition stops when the stressful time ends.

Physical Causes of Sudden Hair Loss

Major physical trauma, after childbirth, high fever, severe infections or other illness, Extreme weight loss, extreme changes in the diet, iron deficiency, Thyroid disorders and some medications.

16.     Is my hair loss permanent?

Hair loss is rarely permanent. Cicatricial alopecia (or scarring alopecia) is a rare form of permanent hair loss that occurs with permanent destruction of the hair follicles. Most often seen in females over 60 but also can occur in men. Is also rarely seen where the hair has been braided too tightly or turbans are worn on the head since a young age causing a traction band to form.

17.     Can stress cause hair loss or hair thinning?

If you’re constantly on the go and not taking any time to wind down, your stressful lifestyle could indeed be wreaking havoc on your hair. Stress increases cortisol levels and induces the hormone changes that are responsible for hair loss. By learning and practicing effective stress-management techniques you can help yourself to reduce the severity of the symptoms.

18.     Can daily use of shampoo and conditioner prevent/mitigate hair loss?

The use of shampoos will not lead to hair loss or make it worse, except in the case of dry damaged and brittle hair. A strongly alkaline shampoo can cause further dryness and can encourage breakage to already weak hair. Shampoos that claim to help hair loss coat the hair with protein to make it cosmetically ‘fatter’ but do nothing to solve the underlying disorder or hair loss cause.

19.     What is the most effective hair loss treatment?

As there are many causes of hair loss, there are also many different hair loss treatments available. This is why a consultation with a hair specialist is most necessary in order to diagnose the hair loss problem and offer the most effective hair loss treatment specifically suited to you.

20.     How do I know what hair loss treatment is right for me?

When it comes to hair loss, a prompt professional consultation is the key. Everybody is different, and you cannot expect a home remedy or an over-the-counter medicine to work on all people.

21.     Do I need one or more types of treatment?

Sometimes there can be a combination of reasons for a person to be losing their hair; so this is why a personalised correct diagnosis is essential as a combination of treatments may be necessary. How you choose to treat your hair loss also depends on the cause and on your feelings.

Hair loss that runs in the family can be treated with medicines or with surgery, such as hair transplant surgery. Some people choose to wear hairpieces, like wigs. Finding different ways of styling your hair, like dyeing or combing, also can help. If hair loss is caused by something you can control, like stress hair loss or medicines, you can treat it by getting rid of the cause.

When you are deciding about treatment, think about these questions when consulting a specialist:

  • Which treatment is most likely to work for me?
  • How long will it take?
  • Will it last?
  • What are the side effects and other risks?
22.     Are there complications or risks of hair loss treatments?

As with all topical products, medications, herbal supplements, even the food we eat can cause a reaction in a very small percentage of people. During your consultation with a specialist in hair loss, an in-depth medical history is taken to carefully screen possible problems and risk factors. The incidence is rare.

23.     What kind of test do I need?

If we feel it is necessary we can request your GP to run blood tests to determine your nutritional status, check your thyroid function, iron status and hormone profile along with other tests pertinent to hair loss causes.

24.     Can I regain my original hair density with treatment?

Hair regrowth will depend upon the severity and type of your hair loss, and is something that your consultant can discuss with you upon examination.

25.     How long after treatment can I see results?

Most types of hair loss will show improvement between 4 and 6 months after treatment.

26.     What can I do to prevent hair loss?
  • Eat a well balanced diet with a combination of complex carbohydrates, protein and low fats. Avoid high sugar snacks.
  • If you need to lose weight, avoid fast crash diets which can often cause hair loss. Follow only a doctor recommended diet with NO stimulants.
  • Take a multivitamin with a small amount of iron, especially during the childbearing years. Hair is extremely sensitive to small iron deficiencies.
  • Learn to deal with stress better: meditation, yoga, exercise, etc
  • Avoid hair care practices that are harsh on your hair and can damage hair and its root. Examples include frequently pulling back hair in a tight manner, corn rows, tight braids, using a hot iron, straighteners, excessive blow drying, hot curlers, and prolonged perms for curl or chemical straighteners.
  • If you must colour hair, have it done professionally using products that do not contain peroxide and ammonia.
  • If you are a young woman on oral contraceptives, make sure it is the type that can help rather than contribute to hair loss. If your hair is naturally thin, have an open discussion with your doctor before starting any hormones.
  • Carefully examine your extended family including grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. If there is a family history of hair loss in men or women, be aware that it could happen to you and seek help at the earliest sign. Seek out a hair loss specialist.
  • Have your hair styled and treated by a professional stylist. They may be the first person to notice a slight change. Seek help early
  • Lastly and most importantly, get a yearly physical and have your doctor check you periodically for iron deficiency, hormonal imbalances, diabetes and nutritional deficiencies.